Fascinating article from NY Times magazine about a general trend in parenting, a verb the article mentions most likely wasn’t invented until the latter half of the 20th century. The piece talks about a new wave called “’free range parenting’ a return to the days when childhood was not ruled by fear” and in which parents are unburdened by the need to constantly be running their child from point A to point B and instead allow themselves, and their kids, to just be.
I will say that I am not a parent, but I can already imagine myself trying to win father of the century award and succeeding only in providing my children with fodder for my ridicule. Instead the author talks about parents letting go of their need to be perfect parents, realizing that its something they can’t do.
“Over coffee and out in cyberspace they are gleefully labeling themselves ‘bad mommies,’ pouring out their doubts, their dissatisfaction and their dysfunction, celebrating their own shortcomings in contrast to their older sisters’ cloying perfection.”
Does this sound familiar? The article also mentions a new book called The Idle Parent: Why Less Means More When Raising Kids by a Brit named Tom Hodgkinson where the front cover shows a picture of a mom and dad drinking martinis while their kid makes another for them on the floor. HA, admittedly this could be a little overboard, but I think the gospel message comes through here. No one is the perfect parent, and killing yourself trying to be one isn’t good for you or your children. But through an admission of our imperfections we can forgive ourselves, and perhaps be forgiven by our kids. After all I’m sure they’d rather have a mom or dad to hang out with than one pulling their hair out and cursing other drivers on the way from soccer practice to their tutor!